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Mohamed
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Big Data, The Strategic Ally Of Electronic Commerce

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If a company can anticipate what its customers want, why they want it, when they want it, how much they can pay for it, and also deliver it satisfactorily, a good part of the way towards optimizing the business and maximizing sales has been covered. And with Big Data , this scenario, which may sound idyllic, is possible.

The world is currently going through a new industrial revolution, led by digitization and technology, and one of the main elements that feeds them is information. Virtually any interaction that takes place in the digital world leaves a trace, a mark that can be traced, and that once analyzed is an invaluable input to know a certain individual.

This is where Big Data comes in . One way to define it is as the management and analysis of huge amounts of information or data that cannot be processed by conventional software systems, because the volume of data exceeds its algorithmic processing capacity. In other words, specific systems must be created to be able to process all this information.

The origin of this data can range from simple information such as form data, through emails, audio files, digital images, camera sensors, survey data, to name a few sources. The objective of Big Data is to transform this entire set of data, which may or may not be structured, into accessible and valuable information for decision makers.

And although large companies had been handling large volumes of information for a long time, the evolution of technology gave access to a greater amount of data, so they were forced to create tools to analyze it.

Today Big Data plays a fundamental role in different business aspects; among them, knowing the purchasing habits of people, their needs, characteristics, and other data to optimize a business, including its electronic commerce .

And although Big Data can be used for dozens of disciplines or business areas, which can range from medicine, automotive, architecture, engineering, security, among many others, electronic commerce is one of the branches in which it is most benefited . can draw, even for small businesses.

Why is Big Data important?

Thanks to all the information on the network about each individual, with a robust Big Data system a company can structure the profile with the purchasing habits of its customers, with simple data such as demographics, even those that give more detail of each one as the average value of each purchase, its geographical location, the time at which it connects to visit the electronic commerce, the display time of each product, cart abandonment, the means of payment used, estimate the other individuals who interact with the subject at home, among many other data.

For example, there are marketplaces that, with the information mentioned, and additional data, configure a client's profile in such a detailed way as to create a credit risk profile and know if said person is a good subject to receive a line of credit. by the marketplace .

Below are four elements that detail the importance of Big Data for e-commerce:

1. Competitive advantages

To the extent that Internet access has been growing, coupled with other factors such as the pandemic, electronic commerce has become a necessity in business and the vast majority of companies know it; that is, the competition is high.

Through Big Data, a competitive advantage can be gained by defining the most appropriate sales strategies for the business and that target the true target audience. Strategies that can also be customized, which has become essential in ecommerce. It is also possible to know how the competition acts in order to be able to differentiate itself positively, and the expectations of its consumers.

2. Track the high volume of data

To say that infinity increases sounds redundant, but with the amount of information available on the Internet today, it is as close to reality as possible. Every day there are more devices capable of providing information that determines the behavior of people.

The next step in the available data revolution is taking place with the arrival of 5G networks and the Internet of Things (IoT). 5G networks allow data transmission between 10 and 20 times faster than 4G networks, and will allow the connection of more devices, and therefore there will be greater access to information.

When the capacity of an element such as a refrigerator to generate data is added to the transmission speed, it is possible to know how often a person replenishes the ketchup in his house.

With Big Data all this data, and the ones that continue to emerge, can be tracked, accounted for and used to make strategic decisions within the business. Without a doubt, those companies that know how to follow all the traces that their clients, and potential clients, leave in cyberspace are the ones that will be one step ahead on the constant path to success.

3. Accurate consumer tracking

A person's behavior today may be very different from what it was six months ago, and the same goes for their buying habits . The digital transformation also influences the behavior of consumers, who every day have access to more information, opinions, all elements that can influence their decisions.

Also, every day the interaction between companies and their customers is greater, so the possibility of being aware of changes in their behavior is easier. Using Big Data tools, this monitoring can be done to find out if there are changes in customer preferences and predict behaviors that can directly impact the business.

4. Upgrade Points

Thanks to Big Data , you can get to know what people think about each business and how they react to the actions taken within it. One of the tasks of Big Data is precisely to offer accurate data on the interactions that consumers have with the business platform in order to find out the areas for improvement.

Information has always been a valuable asset for business, and today it is imperative that decisions are supported by hard data.

Pillars of Big Data

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Big Data was originally considered to have three fundamental pillars, its three V's: volume, variety and speed. But over the years two more elements have been added: veracity and value of the data. In other words, today we can talk about five pillars that make up Big Data .

  • Volume: Given the speed with which information evolves in the digital world, the concept of data volume does too. However, in this case the large volumes of information can refer to amounts such as hundreds or thousands of Terabytes or Petabytes (1,000 terabytes), that is, much more than the thousands of Gigabytes that an ordinary computer is used to processing.
  • Variety: refers to the types of data that the software receives, and can be of three types. Structured, semi-structured or unstructured.
  • Speed: it is the speed with which the data in question is received, processed and analyzed to make decisions with them. Although it may be more complex, the ideal is that the results are returned in real time, especially if you want to provide a personalized experience during a purchase in an e-commerce.
  • Veracity: it is the confidence that can be had on the processed information, that it is of quality, and that it can evolve and add other elements such as time and the behavior of the economy.
  • Value: refers to the importance of the information being analyzed for the business. A pre-selection of the fundamental data must be made, with which the processing process becomes faster and more precise.

Advantages for electronic commerce

Two words that can be used to encompass the advantages of Big Data within electronic commerce are: optimization and personalization. The detailed knowledge that it makes possible to have all areas of the business, including the client, is a tool that allows you to stay ahead of your competitors.

Here are seven advantages that Big Data brings to e-commerce:

  • Improve the user experience: UX is increasingly valued by customers; not only the quality of the product and its value matters, but also what was experienced during the acquisition of it. Problems in the usability of the ecommerce platform can result in a bad experience and make the customer not return. With all the information available, you can not only provide a personalized experience based on purchasing habits , but also send interactive content of interest, or ads based on your profile analysis. Likewise, it can be determined if all the elements of the web page are yielding the desired result, or if any of them require attention according to the response that is being obtained from the public.
  • Predict demand: thanks to existing information, and to the patterns adopted by customers, through Big Data it is possible to try to predict future demand for a certain good and consumption trends. With these elements in hand, a business can anticipate its competition's marketing campaigns and gain positioning with its target audience. You can even tailor products based on that prediction of your customers' preferences.
  • Online positioning: if you want to have a successful digital marketing strategy, Big Data is essential, since all the available data allows you to be more segmented, assertive, oriented, and consequently more efficient. Among the marketing tools that can be used through Big Data are voice commerce , the use of voice within the online purchasing process; social commerce, which is not only limited to sales through social networks, but also other activities such as the search for opinions from other clients, and reviews about the product, to name a few; Finally, the use of search engines or SEO is essential to position yourself better on the Internet, and in the case of virtual stores, the process must be a little more technical because it is necessary to "show" the search engines the specific characteristics of the products that stand out on the Internet. the competition.
  • Storage and distribution optimization: when it comes to e- commerce, probably few things generate a more negative user experience than misinformation about the stock of a product, or that it is not delivered within the promised period. To avoid these inconveniences, Big Data is essential to: know in which period a product is most in demand, reduce delivery times by generating more efficient delivery routes or processes, automate product data such as available sizes, colors, quantities, etc. . to create positive user experiences.
  • Personalized attention: Personalization helps create more personal, human and close interactions, and the data generated with Big Data allows this personalization to be created. The digitization of commerce has brought companies closer to customers, and this opens the door to offering new recommendations and experiences that not only translate into sales but also boost brand loyalty.
  • Understand the gaps in the purchase process: in electronic commerce with Big Data , not only can you encourage purchases, but also know in detail the behavior of the consumer throughout the purchase process, which allows you to identify if there is any obstruction to its subsequent improvement.
  • Find the exact moment: with the knowledge of purchasing habits and other Big Data tools , businesses can determine the most appropriate moment to approach the customer, so that the approach is seen as a solution to a certain need, and not as one more sale that the person faces. In addition, with this information it is possible to guarantee that the approach is made on clients who are really interested in the product or on potential clients.

Big Data in logistics

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As has already been reiterated, Big Data is the processing of a lot of information put at the service of business, and the logistics link does not escape it. There are thousands of data that can be collected to make the logistics process more efficient and provide a better user experience.

Among the five aspects in which Big Data can be applied within logistics are:

  • Last mile: it is where more problems usually occur at the moment and where there is usually more loss within electronic commerce. With the IoT, real-time data transmission and Big Data , some risks can be neutralized at this stage of the purchase process, such as traffic, the location of the cargo, the risk areas it can cross, as well as availability. of the customer to receive the product.
  • Fraud control: With real-time supervision of cargo and vehicles, postures that compromise productivity and efficiency in the delivery process can be avoided.
  • Routing: the information is vast, so much so that much more efficient routes and schedules can be drawn up to improve the logistics process. Accident rates, environmental or social risk areas, traffic, among other variables are data that can be analyzed within Big Data.
  • Reliability: Just as Big Data is used in internal business processes, it can also be made available to customers or suppliers. In this case, the transparency generated by real-time data updates works as a driver for external reliability, that is, the market can take into account the level of reliability of the company.
  • Warehouses and stocks : automation in inventory processes and smarter warehouses are other applications of Big Data to the logistics process, in this case supported by the IoT, to optimize electronic commerce .

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